Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is one of the most environmentally-friendly products in use today. Additionally, a 2009 national study found that EPS provides a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when used to insulate homes in North America.
EPS is lightweight and easy to use, plus it is largely made from recycled materials and is itself 100 percent recyclable. Furthermore, EPS is flame retardant and contains no harmful ozone-depleting CGCs or HCFCs. When compared to other packaging and insulation materials, such as corrugated, EPS offers superior cushioning properties and is more versatile and less expensive.
EPS is simply an ideal choice for green building designs, offering tangible environmental advantages with energy efficiency, recycled content, mold resistance and indoor environmental quality.
EPS can help meet other green building goals via localized manufacturing, (which reduces the impact of transportation costs) and through its use of innovative applications that improve the overall environmental performance of the building envelope. During installation, some EPS applications have been shown to consistently reduce jobsite waste and labor costs. And, once installed, the environmental benefits continue with superior insulating properties that result in measurable savings.
Beyond the environmental benefits of the installed product, the energy requirements to make EPS can be more favorable than some alternative materials. In one study, when compared to fiberglass insulation, the energy required to produce EPS insulation is 24 percent less than what is needed to make the amount of fiberglass needed to achieve an equivalent R-value at a representative volume.
While all insulation is inherently “green” due to its energy-savings capabilities, green attributes will differ based on each material’s physical properties and its subsequent ability to enhance sustainability